Who uses a deep bed in the brooder?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by chrism, Mar 1, 2015.

  1. chrism

    chrism Songster

    Jan 17, 2009
    Zone 7A Central Va.
    I want to use compost or humus along with a mix of other usual stuff.
    Is this a bad idea?
  2. HighStreetCoop

    HighStreetCoop Songster

    Aug 28, 2014
    Oakland, CA
    My Coop
    Yes, this is a bad idea. Brooders should be kept as clean and dry as possible. They won't be in there long enough for compost to form, so there's no point in doing deep litter anyway.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I’ll give a slightly different take on it. The brooder needs to remain dry. A wet brooder is a dangerous brooder. A wet brooder can breed disease. Poop can start to stink. Air quality may not be real good because it can contain ammonia from the wet poop breaking down. There is nothing good about a wet brooder. I would not want to go above barely damp and even that worries me some

    What is your purpose of using compost or humus in there? What do you hope to gain? The mix needs to be at least damp for the organisms that beak down poop to grow and do their job.

    A broody hen will raise her chicks on dirt and they will thrive. But shenormally uses a large amount of area. With chicks confined to a brooder, the poop concentration is likely to get high enough to cause a problem, where with a broody the chicks are probably pooping over a much bigger area.

    If you keep it dry and keep the poop from getting too concentrated it should work, but I’m not sure what you hope to gain. Maybe we could answer better if we knew what your goal is.
  4. chrism

    chrism Songster

    Jan 17, 2009
    Zone 7A Central Va.
    Thank you for responding.
    I see what I was missing.
    I wasn't thinking of the necessity to keep it moist in order for it to work.
    That wouldn't be a good environment for hatchlings huh?

    My goal was to eliminate having to clean out wet and smelly pine shavings every day.
    I figured that I wouldn't have compost in the short brooding time but I planned on transferring the bedding to the coop along with the birds.

    So I guess the traditional pine shavings to be best?
    How deep and typically how often should it be changed?
    I'll be using both halves of a refrigerator box cut in half lengthwise for 20 hatchlings.
    I'll have a waterer, food dispenser and a 60w bulb for heat in a 70 deg environment.
  5. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Songster

    Sep 4, 2013
    Lower Alabama
    I brood mine on wire. It makes life so much easier.
  6. n3kms

    n3kms Songster

    Jun 28, 2010
    Middle Tennessee
    I used fairly deep pine shavings in my brooder and since I use fermented feed the poops are more solid. When it looked a little messy I stirred it around. If it got a little smelly I added more pine shavings. For six weeks and 10 chicks I never removed the shavings and then when the chicks went to the coop I put the shavings plus much more in a dirt floor coop. Then I did 14 chicks in the same brooder the same way. That was last spring. No problems but I think the fermented feed makes for much less wetness and smell.
  7. chrism

    chrism Songster

    Jan 17, 2009
    Zone 7A Central Va.
    Thank you!!
    I will look into the fermented feed.

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